Longyearbyen, Norway | Image: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen
Have you ever good naturedly teased a friend who lives in an isolated area for "living in the sticks?" Or has anyone accused you of such a lifestyle? If you're in the latter category, take heed: the towns listed in the linked article are the perfect comeback to such a ribbing. There are the proverbial "sticks" and then there are these towns, that make the kind of isolated we have in mind look like it's for wimps.
Let's look at one interesting example, pictured above:
"The Scandinavian town of Longyearbyen is so far north that it’s closer to the North Pole than it is to Oslo, Norway’s capital. The arctic location makes for chilly temperatures year-round and long winters of unbroken darkness. The houses there are built on stilts in order to keep the underlying permafrost from melting beneath them and becoming unstable.
Despite these harsh conditions, Longyearbyen attracts residents from around the world. Of the town’s fewer than 3000 inhabitants, nearly a third of them are foreigners. The community’s greatest appeal is likely its shockingly low crime rate, which is helped by the fact that it's illegal to live in Longyearbyen without a job or a permanent address. (It’s also illegal to die there, because it’s too cold for bodies to decompose.) And while crime is low, gun ownership is unusually high—but this is primarily to protect against the threat of polar bears. The danger is such an issue that the police enforce a law that anyone straying outside the city limits must carry a weapon and know how to use it."
Feeling lonely yet? A bit removed? Check out more of the most isolated towns on Earth at mental_floss.